I had my last set of vaccines today. The nurse was surprised that I had them done so early! But I’m glad I did because it gets a massive stress out of the way. Now all I need to worry about is what to pack, spending money and the fact that I can’t speak Spanish.

I can’t speak Spanish!

To lessen the stress of the latter problem I have been taking Spanish lessons. But there’s nothing like going to the country to learn! So I will (hopefully) be going to Spain for 2 weeks in December to WWOOF in Barcelona. Here I will work on an organic farm in exchange for food and accommodation. I’m really excited – and scared! This will be the first time I’ve been in a foreign country by myself with only a limited knowledge of the language. It does bring up more stress however, as the WWOOF hosts that I’ve emailed so far have all emailed back to say they don’t need any help at the moment… But I will persevere! Surely there are farms in dire need of a helping hand in December…?! I will post when I get a positive reply from a farm – it’d pretty awkward if I didn’t…

What to pack…

I am now in the process of buying/finding the essentials: a raincoat, a backpack, insect repellent, *ear plugs, waterproof clothes, money belt, **sports gear, malaria tablets, sun protection, pen knife, a torch, a plastic poncho, gardening gloves, adaptor plug – you get the gist. Of course I won’t need to buy all of this as I’ll have some things around the house. The problem is actually finding them!

*I was told in my informal interview with the director that the one piece of equipment that volunteers never think of to take is a set of earplugs. The forest is just a cacophony of sound and it can be near impossible to fall asleep at nights!

**Ex-volunteers have spoken of the problems when it comes to finding suitable clothing to work in the Cloud Forest; you need to wear long sleeves to protect yourself from bites (so no tees or shorts), but it’s really difficult because you get so hot working so you just want to take off all your clothes! We were advised to take sports wear because this is designed to absorb sweat and cool you down as well as covering your body.

Spending money

Outreach advises us to take £150 a month, so that’s £450 for the whole journey which will come from my savings. We were advised to pack lightly because  some of the essentials we need to take can be bought in Ecuador.

Aaaaaaaah I can’t believe I’m actually going! I’ve gone into this quite obliviously – it hadn’t really dawned on me until now how big the whole thing is. I keep getting sudden bursts of panic/excitement/distress when I actually think about it. But I feel a lot better when I think of the good that I’ll be doing. So yeah, this has become a whole lot more than a little adventure!

Fingers crossed that my next post will talk of my firm plans to stay at a WWOOF host in Barcelona!


I have done it!

Today I received a letter in the post, with a cheque of £250 – this kind and generous and amazing donation was from the Churchill University Scholarship Trust. I wrote them a thank you card, but honestly, I can’t express my thanks enough!

I was reading through my blog from the beginning and realised it’s made up of about a million thank you’s. There’s not one post where I don’t go on about my appreciation for everything etc etc – but that doesn’t make it any less true! That’s one of the reasons why I did the concert, because I thought people would think that my thanks are getting habitual. Although now that’s over I feel like that again!

So I say it again, for the last time:

Thank you absolutely everyone who has donated, supported and given encouragement; to Leigh from the Meadows Directory, the Edinburgh Rotary Club and the Churchill Trust. Oh also to my brother’s friends and my friends family. And to those who have only heard of me through my parents! So yeah, to everyone. Thank you thank you thank yoooou!

Sorry this is getting slightly over the top – it’s just with the Churchill Trust’s donation, I have now reached my target of £4200!! (I made up the remaining money through working, sponsors and pots.) I am totally shocked and happy and thankful:

There really should be a cue for fireworks but here’s my chipmunked face instead:

Sorry I really don’t know why I stick photos like this up here. Fireworks:

I will now close my Paypal account.





So in the next couple of weeks I will make a page to help future fundraisers. At the beginning of the whole thing I tried finding that kind of information over the internet but surprisingly there’s not that much! A quick word of advice just now: blog it. This blog encouraged people to buy pots and Lizzie’s poetry, and brought me over £1000 directly through donations!

I will of course keep those interested informed of my trip, especially those who have supported me.

Thank you!

Concert success!

The concerts today were a total success. About 30 people wanted to come, so I had to split the whole thing into to two smaller concerts, one at 3pm and one at 7pm.

After the concert there was food and drink and a chance to talk about my trip, and to say thank you (again).

Because it was really a concert to say thank you, I was never expecting to raise more than £100. But it turned out, I raised a huge astonishing £550! Aaaah. On top of this, through the week I sold 4 mugs and was sponsored £74. So that adds up to £664!

So that really means I am so so so close – £3600!! 😀 Thank you, to everyone who has supported me. I actually can’t believe it!

Post concert awkward posing:

The whole thing seemed to go down well! Including the food, I made chocolate muffins. For those interested, the programme was almost the same as last time:

Ballade in D minor (Edward), Brahms
Vision Fugitives nos 1 – 5, Prokofiev
A selection from the Children’s Corner Suite, Debussy

In other news, I’m travelling to London for a pre-departure briefing at the end of November where I’ll meet the other volunteers yay! However I also have appointments for more vaccinations this week… Eurgh.

Jabs eeeh!

Oh my god oh my god two people have been abducted from Ecuador, and there was a huge earthquake – 7.1 magnitude, 326 kilometres north-east from Quito. Eeeeh. So scary!

On a lighter note, I’ve raised £200! £100 from one donation (I died when I saw the email, seriously!) £20 from pots and Lizzy’s poetry, and £80 from work. Actually I played in a really fun concert today, accompanying my neighbour’s violin pupils, so the money from that went straight to this fund 😀 So that’s £2936

What. Hahahaha. That’s almost £3000! Weeeeh! So yeah, already used the phrase before, but I’m over the moon.

On a not so happy note, I’ve had some of my vaccinations… Yeah I know waaay too early but I thought I’d get them out of the way. Soo painful though!

Very exited for next week’s concert! Lots of baking to do yayay 😀 The response to the invites was brilliant, so I’m really looking forward to it!

Rotary Club

So the past week I have raised another £235 through work (£170) and sponsors (£65). Also thanks to Allan for the huge amount of time and effort he’s put in helping me raise funds. You know I appreciate it!

Oh yeah and speaking of huge amounts of generosity, I got a phone call today from the Rotary Club of Edinburgh. They have decided to donate £750 to the project!! I actually can’t believe it ahaha. As a token of my thanks, I invited a few of their members to the recital on the 7th. The money helps such an unbelievable amount, and I know I keep repeating myself but I really am totally genuinely amazingly thankful.

This totals to a huge £2736 😀

Here is a photo of my friend and I as chipmunks, as an expression of my thanks.

Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank yooooou.

School and concerts

This week has been surprisingly good – I’ve raised almost £400! The fundraising concert yesterday was a success; the plan was that I would play for a small audience at Alistair and Sheila’s in return for a donation. However the audience donated as well! So I raised £155 😀 Thank you so much! (Photo from yesterday afternoon beloooow).

For those interested, my programme was:

Ballade in D minor (Edward), Brahms
Vision Fugitives nos 1 & 2, Prokofiev
A selection from the Children’s Corner Suite, Debussy

Quite a short programme, but it went down well. Everyone seemed to enjoy it!

I am also now selling mugs in school! Upon the request of teachers I brought in 10 on Friday. I got an email 4 hours later to say that there were only 3 left! So that’s £70! (Although I need to confirm that, I’ll check tomorrow.)

So if any school people want to buy a mug but can’t be bothered trekking it to the Meadows, you can buy one in the staffroom 😀

Oh yeah also a man came into the shop and looked at my mugs and instead of buying one, he was like, “here’s £10, but I won’t buy a mug”. I’ve never met him before, and neither have my parents! So kind. I like kind people.

So including mugs sold in the shop, I’ve made £110 😀 Plus sponsors (£40), work and the concert yesterday afternoon, that’s £335!! Totals to £1771 aaah.


Thank you, Alistair and Sheila, school, and everyone else. It means a lot!

Also date for my home fundraising concert is confirmed as Sunday 7th October, at 3pm. Invites go out tomorrow!

And I’m thinking of going to Japan when I come back from Ecuador, on the WWOOF programme – Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms. In return for working on someone’s farm, you get accommodation and food. It sounds so amazing, but I’m aware of the dangers! I love Japan. I’ll probably be going for 3 months in the middle of April. Can’t waaaait.

Tokyo, Japan (Jan 2012)


So quite a few people have been wanting to buy my pots. However they don’t know where they’re being sold! Go to the Meadow Pottery, at the top of Causewayside. Here you can also buy signed copies of Elizabeth Burns’ book of poetry, Held, which have been donated to me as part of my fund! Like my mugs, they are selling for £10 each.

The Meadows Pottery
11a Summerhall Place 
Edinburgh EH9 1QE

Please please please come along and buy a mug or a poetry book! It really makes a huge difference 😀